Universities in the UK are reportedly paying Instagram influencers to advertise for their schools even if they have never been enrolled there. Earlier this week, model and influencer Ambar Driscoll came under fire after promoting the University of Hull, even though she went to school at the University of Exeter, which is on the other end of the country.
There was an instant backlash from Driscoll’s followers, who believed that promoting a school for money was unethical, especially if they hadn’t gone there themselves. An influencer promoting a school that they did not attend is seen as much worse than them promoting a product that they don’t personally use, because choice of education is such an important and life-changing product, and the experience can be very negative for someone who picks a place that they arent suited for.
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However, this is nothing new, universities have been inceasingly using related podcasts and influencers to advertise their schools. The popular YouTube channel EduTube, which hosts content about university life, for example, is one of many places that colleges reach out to potential students. Blogger and influencer Grace Bee has also admitted to getting paid to promote Anglia Ruskin University even though she didn’t attend, but she says that her conscience is clear because she thoroughly researched the school before agreeing to deal.
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“For me personally, it was a business transaction. However I’m quite picky with the brands I work with and I would never promote a brand I didn’t believe in. Although I didn’t study at Anglia Ruskin, I think my time in further education was really formative so I was more than happy to promote it to my followers,” Grace told Vice News.
“I won’t promote anything I don’t have a genuine connection or belief in,” she added.
Model and content creator, Aliyah Rahal, who has over 56,000 followers on Instagram, also took the deal to promote Anglia Ruskin University.
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